First off, a brief overview of where MP is at – followed swiftly by reportage from the guts of its development from Yuri and the MP Strike Force.
After (almost) five of the original six months we gave as a ballpark estimate for the 41 IWBUMS MP release, our much improved and stable MP feels like it is nearing completion.
The MP Strike Force coders and their dedicated QA team have been working largely undisturbed, and this week the wider team and a few select testers got their first play with it.
While there were a couple of easily fixable combat bugs still to be crushed that got in the way a bit at times (some of which were fixed between the test and today) the improvement over the previous test session back in July that showed us a delay was necessary was huge.
As such we still remain confident to say that we’re still on course for our original projection of (give or take) six months, and are really trying to make sure the first version falls into this year.
However, we’re sure that we won’t be throwing it out there in November. While what’s left seems manageable there are still critical bugs to resolve, larger player counts to test and various things to look at when it comes to connections with higher pings.
Also, while we’re hoping for a December release, we’re also mindful that after delaying it six months then if there was still some gremlin to crush in the approach to the holidays (and following that, the Russian holidays) when devs will not be around then we’d be very foolish to push it out of the door for the sake of it. That would not only undermine the whole point of this delay in the first place by releasing something broken or substandard, but also make for a lousy working Christmas period for both devs and support team.
So while the actual date is still up in the air, we have an internal ETA we’re working to. Right now the intended release date appears to be fairly stable, if it falls back it seems to us that it would only be by a week or two, even if the stars don’t align and we end up having to hold it in until after the New Year and Christmas (both Western and Russian).
We will break from our regular ‘MP news every month’ news policy in the next dev blog (in two weeks) to give a clearer picture of where we’re at with it all.
At this point we will also have a clearer idea of where our incoming other new features (city map, bendy roads, nu-foraging, new map system etc) will be landing in terms of them being in a separate build, or as a part of glorious new multi-feature package.
Here’s a quick video of some of our testers back in the build on Tuesday – a fair few of the bugs you might spot in this vid have already been fixed.
Now, over to Yuri for a more on-the-ground report:
This month we fixed a lot of bugs with the sound system, PvP, synchronising clothing, synchroninsing fallen players getting back up, zombie client ownership and much more. We also improved the attack range for remote zombies, car ramming and attack/hit synchronisation.
Our testers also looked at how split-screen works with multiplayer. The mode mostly works, though there are some crashes. This clearly isn’t a dev priority, but all crashes were video recorded, the logs were saved and reports were formed for later fixes.
Finally, we had big changes in networking protocol last month, the FakeClientManager was repaired and the processing of the SyncInjuries, the HitCharacter, and the PlayerUpdate packets was updated. This allowed us to do some load testing of the server, before opening testing up to the wider TIS team.
The server with 10 Gb RAM worked for 30 minutes with 32 fake clients exploring the map and killing zombies. We thought this was a good result.
Our version of Louisville continues to get fixed up (note! Not a direct recreation of real world Louisville – but huge by PZ standards. Please don’t expect to find your own house or place of work etc etc) with map bugs continuing to be quashed.
The primary time sink now being zoning new areas, ensuring that the right loot and zed outfits spawn in the right places, adding new food and clothing items relevant to the various new sorts of restaurants and shops and basically bringing it to the same level of variety and interaction as the rest of the main map.
The development of our new map system continues, with the current task being to bring our current ‘drawn by an artist’ maps and discovered survivor loot map system over to the new self-drawing future.
This means that we, and modders, can easily create our own lootable maps from the latest version of the in-game map – and decorate them, annotate them and size them however we wish.
Finally, a few words on the new search mode that will be replacing our current foraging system. Here’s a quick vid of some urban searching/foraging – followed up with some deets on the current implementation supplied by Eris.
The loot and system has been overhauled completely with new items to find. Urban foraging has been added, as seen in the video above, and appearance rates have been increased since the early implementation.
Poison berries and mushrooms have been expanded upon with a random poison chance and power depending on level (which should never be zero percent) to compliment the existing system (there is still one guaranteed poison berry and mushroom based on item type) adding some risk to these items even when the poison item sprite is known. Players will still require the herbalist trait or book to reveal which berries/mushrooms are poisoned.
The Investigate Area Window
The Investigate area window is a recent addition which gives the payer information about the area they are standing in and the world (a horizon view) which relates to foraging.
The primary info visible on this window is the current time of day (as a sun/moon moving across the sky) and the current zone (as a silhouette background). These primary factors determine what may be found at that location.
Secondary info shown on the panel is the cloud level (rain and light levels) sky colour (ambient light) and fog level. These secondary factors relate to visibility and the chances for certain items to spawn (e.g. frogs are more common in the rain, but less common when it snows).
Search Mode Overlay
The player search radius is shown by the overlay circle on screen. The size shows how far a player could see a size 1.0 item at that moment. The circle radius is also dynamic based on speed, weather, light level just the same as spotting items. When a large, obvious item is visible outside the circle, the search radius will expand until it spots that item. Players must have search mode enabled to see forage icons.
Spotting Small Items
Search mode has been expanded to spot small items on the floor, any item under a threshold weight of 1.0 as well as dropped container type items. This allows the player to spot hidden stashes and small items (like car keys) in the world. Icons will only show when Search Mode is active.
Annotated map stashes (hidden floorboards) support has been added for all floor stash types. Upon finding and visiting the annotated map location, it may assist in finding the hidden stash tile.
World markers are added to icons to help show exactly where an item is on the floor relative to the player by showing an arrow icon when looking directly at an icon.
In the modding world, there’s some rather audible delights in store from supremo audio modder extraordinaire Azakaela, creator of Survivor Radio we wanted to point everyone toward. We’ll let the video do the talking but it’s super super cool to hear the world of PZ radio lore brought to life. (Bear in mind this is all WIP, so the video may have a few stutters in it)
A changelist of all IWBUMS patches since the 41 beta was released can be found here. A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept here – so you don’t have to plough through endless dev blogs for info. The Centralized Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send you update notifications once builds get released. We also live on Twitter right here! Our Discord is open for chat and hijinks too!